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It is an optimistic work in the sense that the artist evidently believes there exists an audience out there of the kind Bronzino could count on to enjoy unriddling allegories while admiring the craft.
Yoder relates the issue of unriddling to his explanation of Emerson's concept of the Orphic poet, tracing the role of the poet as fiddle-solver back to Old English culture (Emerson and the Orphic Poet in America [U of California P, 1978]).
Our penance, if we can perform it, is to find unexpected words for unriddling such loud silences.
In the case of someone as impenetrably singleminded as Goya, simple pictorial analyses may not be enough to elicit any plausible explanation, and the application of Russian formalist criticism to this inscrutable genius is Professor Tomlinson's chief tool in unriddling the more esoteric language of Goya's art.
See his Unriddling the Exeter Riddles (University Park: Penn State Press, 2011), esp.
Add Gertrude Stein to this ecumenical mix and the result is In Circles, the wonder of which is that it is not only superb entertainment but a more inspired unriddling and illumining of Stein's gnomic poetry than even Virgil Thompson's two lovely operas, Four Saints in Three Acts and The Mother of Us All.